As a defense attorney, you want to control all aspects of your cases, and for good reason. Maintaining the attorney-client privilege and keeping the defense team from running down every rabbit hole a client comes up with is paramount to keeping your defense strategy on path. However, of equal importance is avoiding work that is best and more economically performed by another member of the defense team, your investigator. No one wants an investigator to play attorney, and no attorney should ever want to perform any investigative tasks. The best way to avoid this is to provide your investigator all of the discovery from the word go.
You may be tempted to ask, “why would I provide my investigator with all of the discovery?” Or “why is this the best way to avoid doing investigative work?” The answers are simple. By providing your investigator with all discovery information, you provide them with the factual foundation needed to properly re-investigate the case from start to finish. The discovery contains the who, what, when, where, why, and how according to law enforcement and the DA’s office. It contains essential identifying information for the prosecution’s witnesses that can be used in impeachment research and written statements that may indicate questions the investigator should ask during the interview process. It contains relevant details the investigator needs when interviewing the complainant and alleged witnesses. The discovery can even point an investigator in the direction of witnesses not already interviewed.
Picture this: John Doe is charged with three counts of aggravated assault. Complainants one and two claim the accused had a gun in their written statements, but Complainant three did not. The discovery made no mention of recovered firearms. The address where the alleged offenses took place was a residence with no affiliation to the accused or the complainants. Yet, there is no mention in the discovery of law enforcement even attempting to interview other witnesses. In short order, your investigator conducts independent interviews of the complainants. The first two complainants insist the accused had a firearm, but complainant one called it a pistol, complainant two tells your investigator the firearm was a shotgun. The third complainant, on the other hand, flatly states the accused did not have a firearm. The accused is the only defendant in this case. When the investigator drives to the address of the alleged offense, a new witness is interviewed, who actually was the person who came outside with a shotgun to defend the accused after the three complainants ran up to the accused and began assaulting him. Further, this witness has a saved Ring Doorbell video depicting the entire event.
While this may be a picturesque example of an investigation, it’s nonetheless an illustration of the importance of providing your investigator all of the discovery. The next time you need a qualified investigator to find your evidence, exculpatory or mitigating, contact Preferred Intelligence at 214- 785-4504.